Woman in Dai Binh Village' Mai Le

'Chiaroscuro' is the art of using bold light and shade to affect the whole balance of a composition and to give dimensions and form to objects.  In many of her works, Mai Le shows complete mastery of this technique and no more so than in this dynamic study of a woman drinking tea.


Mai had made a masterpiece out of this commonplace scene. A woman dips her cup into a bucket of tea and is refreshed by the first mouthful as she washes it around her teeth and tongue. The expression on her face is so quintessentially Vietnamese that there could hardly be any question about the origin of this work!


Look at the light on her lips, the strands of her silver hair and how the sunshine washes around the cup and gives a glow to the tea. She is standing half in shadow but the sun has touched her eyes with such warmth - you wish you could sit and chat with her for a while.

Woman of Bai Dinh